Medical SEO: How to Get Your Healthcare Website to the Top

By Chris Roberts


Category: SEO

Reaching the top of the relevant search results is a ‘must-have’ goal in SEO of any kind. If you wish to enhance the visibility of your website to earn more traffic, you are on the right path. On Google, the first five organic results account for 67.60% of all the clicks. Statistics show that the better you rank in a search, the more users click on your site. Getting more visitors to your site means having more patients, and that’s what you need. Do people search for medical websites? Yes! 47% of Internet users search for information about doctors or other health specialists.

But how do you get your medical website to the top of the search results?

A website gets to the top results with a successful SEO strategy. SEO is the most powerful way of building up the visibility of a website in search engines, and its effects are long-lasting.

To find out how to craft a successful SEO strategy, let’s discuss how search engines rank pages in search results.

Google’s Search Algorithm

Some might think appearing in the top results of desired searches is something one can achieve overnight. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Improving a website’s rankings requires investing time and energy. And you need several months, sometimes even years, to see the desired outcome – but it’s totally worth it!

The way search engines rank the results is the reason Search Engine Optimization is a complex and lengthy process. There is no simple formula to organize results, and Google uses over 200 ranking factors to sort websites in search queries.

No SEO expert knows the precise formula for the algorithm, but what we do know is that the relevance of the page is the crucial element.

How Does Google Understand What’s Relevant to a User’s Intent?

Page relevancy is the critical factor for ranking results in search queries. But how does Google understand what’s relevant to a user’s intent? Google does it primarily by looking at Keywords on a page.

Keywords are words and phrases users will type in a search engine to discover your content. It’s vital to understand how users will search for the services you offer; As in, what words or phrases they will use.

For example, if you provide photopneumatic therapy, you are targeting people who want to fight acne. To figure out how they will search for your services, imagine what you would have done if you had the same issue. Also, consider that many of your potential patients might not even know there is such therapy. Most of the searchers will not type “photopneumatic therapy” into the search bar, but instead something like:

  • “the best treatment for acne”
  • “how to get rid of acne”
  • “how to get rid of acne scars”
  • “acne”
  • “laser for acne” etc.

The best strategy is to create a list with all keywords your patients might use to find the services you offer. After creating a list, let’s check which keywords will bring more users to your website.

Keyword search volume is the number of searches a keyword gets in a particular time frame. It helps us see how much traffic a keyword can drive to a website. There are many tools you can use for checking search volume for a keyword like SEM Rush, Moz’s Keyword Explorer, or Google AdWords Keyword Tool.

We used Moz’s Keyword Explorer for checking search volume for keywords related to Photopneumatic Therapy, and here are the results:

Image of moz keyword explorer

“How to get rid of acne” and “How to get rid of acne scars” bring the same amount of users per month, and both are going to bring traffic to your website.

Image of Moz Keyword Explorer

Not many users search for “Laser for acne“ but it’s less competitive. “Acne” brings the most traffic.

As we can see from the results, users search for the keyword “acne” more frequently than they search for other keywords. But this doesn’t mean it’s enough to target “acne.” Firstly, acne is a very competitive keyword, and many websites are targeting it, so you might not defeat your competitors (or it might take longer to do so). Secondly, targeting one keyword is never enough since, in the SEO world, there are different types of keywords.

Short-Tail and Long-Tail Keywords

In terms of length, there are two types of Keywords – short-tail keywords and long-tail keywords. Keywords consisting of only 1 or 2 words are short-tail keywords, and keywords consisting of 3 to 5 or more keywords are long-tail keywords. “Acne” is a short-tail keyword, and “how to get rid of acne scars in less than a month” is a long-tail keyword. People who use long-tail keywords in their queries look for more specific results, and are more likely to convert. The average conversion rate (users who become your patients) for long-tail keywords is 36%, which is 4.15% higher than the conversion rate for short-tail keywords.

LSI Keywords

Besides short-tail and long-tail keywords, there are LSI Keywords that have a semantic relation to the main keywords. So if the main keyword is “acne,” LSI Keywords can be “redness,” “scars,” “dryness,” “cysts,” “blemishes” “whiteheads” “blackheads,” etc. LSI Keywords are essential, as they help Google in understanding the context of your content. Google scans your pages for both the main keywords and LSI Keywords to be sure that the page is relevant to the searcher’s needs. Check out this free LSI Keyword generator to get started with LSI keywords.

Create Great Content

Search Engine Optimization relies heavily on great content. You can benefit from writing great content in many ways, including targeting more keywords – especially long-tail keywords. And the more keywords your content has, the more likely it is to appear in search results.

In addition, 66% of all internet users look online for information about a specific medical problem or illness. If your potential patient thinks she has a particular disease, she will begin the online search for the symptoms and treatments.

Let’s say your patient has a cyst behind her ear. She might search for “a pimple under the skin behind the ear” and Google will return pages about acne lumps behind the ear. After defining the term for the issue, she will look for ways to get rid of it. Her next query might be “how to get rid of the cyst behind my ear.” The first page in the search results is a blog post about removing the cyst with a simple cut. Now, if this post belongs to your website and the user finds it helpful – congratulations! She might become your next patient! That’s why it is crucial to write a blog and more articles related to your field of expertise.

Image of the knowledge graph that results when searching for the medical term How To Get Rid Of The Cyst Behind My Ear

Improve Page Speed

But providing relevant results is just a step, and after clicking a website, users must benefit from their visit. That’s why user experience is amongst the ranking factors for Google. Google has confirmed Page Speed as a ranking factor twice. It means that if a page loads slowly, it will have fewer chances to rank well in searches. Google will look at your page load time for both mobile and desktop searches.

To see if your website needs improvements to speed up your page load times, you can use Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool. The free tool will grade your website based on its performance in the test, and if improvements are necessary, give you recommendations.

Have a Mobile-friendly Website

In 2019, 81% of US adults said they owned a smartphone; this is up from 35% in 2011. That means that many of your website visitors will open your site from their phones. Google looks at the mobile page load speed before ranking sites. This means you should prioritize having a mobile-friendly website, as 94% of search traffic comes from Google.

“Mobile is changing the world. Today, everyone has smartphones with them, constantly communicating and looking for information. In many countries, the number of smartphones has surpassed the number of personal computers; having a mobile-friendly website has become a critical part of having an online presence.”

Writes Google.

To check if your website is in good shape for mobile visitors, you don’t need a stopwatch and several phones in your hands. Google Search Console offers a free tool to test your website for mobile-friendliness.

If your website is mobile-friendly, you will get a message, “the website is mobile-friendly.”

Image of the message displayed in Google's Mobile Friendliness tool when the page is mobile friendly

In case of issues, while loading the page, the tool will indicate the problems that occurred during the test.

Image showing the message when a page could only be partially loaded in Google's Mobile Friendliness tool

Invest in Local SEO

Local SEO is another crucial aspect of your medical SEO strategy. When your patients search for medical services in the local area, google offers the Local 3-Pack, which is a list of the 3 best choices of businesses near the searcher. See the picture below.

Image of the local search pack after searching for a Washington, D.C. Dermatologist

Users can hit “more places” to see more suggestions. Appearing in the local pack is crucial, as nearly 46% of all Google searches are seeking local information. If you end up in the top results, you will get more calls and visits to your office and more users to your website. Google uses 3 significant factors for ranking in the local pack – relevance, distance, and prominence.

“Local results are based primarily on relevance, distance, and prominence. These factors are combined to help find the best match for your search.”

Read more about Google Local Pack.

To get started, create, and optimize a Google My Business account. For more information, check out this detailed guide on signing up and verifying your Google My Business account, click here.

“Google My Business complements your existing website by giving your business a public identity and presence with a listing on Google, the most popular search engine in the world.”

Search Engine Journal.

Get More Reviews

Finally, for successful local SEO, get more reviews by asking your patients to review your health center on Google. Email your existing clients and ask them to write a review, or ask them in person to give you feedback online. Reviews help in local ranking and increase the credibility of your business.
With the steps above, we hope you can achieve your desired results and reach top positions for your targeted queries.

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